Should I Get Some Parenting Education Before the Baby Comes?
Parenting education can be a tremendous asset, offering benefits to expecting parents and baby alike. Becoming a parent can be a swirling mix of excitement, fear, eager anticipation, and dread. Parenting education can calm that whirlwind.
If you attend parenting classes, you can expect to learn concepts like problem-solving skills and ways to help your kids build protective factors that will help them weather the ups and downs of life. Of course, most parenting programs start with parenting a newborn and progress through different stages.
If you’re considering getting some parenting education classes before your baby is born, here are some reasons why doing so could be helpful.
Why Parenting Education Before Your Baby Comes Might be a Good Idea
Becoming a parent for the first time can cause significant anxiety. You might not have held a baby before, or if you did, you could give the baby back to its mother or father when it became fussy. Now, though, you’ll be the one to whom a fussy baby is thrust back. Parenting classes offer guidelines for newborn care as well as how to adapt to your rapidly developing infant.
Upcoming parents often appreciate what parenting education has to offer: information, knowledge, advice, support, and confidence. Another valuable takeaway from many parenting programs is how to smoothly assimilate another person, albeit a tiny one, into your life.
Information for people who are soon to be parents often includes strategies to help an infant thrive in all areas: physically through the meeting of basic needs, cognitively through tools that allow you to provide just the right amount and type of stimulation, and emotionally via learning how and when to soothe a distressed baby. Other things that pre-birth education provides include:
- Fostering infant-parent attachment
- Understanding infant sleeping patterns and habits and how you should foster and respond to them (for example, Should you run to every whimper or let a baby cry it out?)
- Interpreting and tuning into your baby’s needs
- Properly interacting with your baby
When contemplating whether to enroll in a parenting education program, consider this: Such classes don’t try to change you or your values and ideals for parenthood. They help you fulfill your own parenting philosophy by equipping you with tools to parent positively within your belief system.
You can remain true to what’s important to you for your baby now and in the future as you learn specific strategies, tools, and ideas.
What You Might Learn in Parenting Education
Parenting education programs have goals and objectives to guide what you learn. While there are differences depending on the program and instructors, these goals apply to most:
- Facilitate knowledge of nurturing, compassionate parenting
- Allow families to build on their existing strengths rather than replacing them
- Increase parents’ knowledge of child development and needs
- Foster the parent-child-family relationship
- Develop an understanding of the importance of social relationships for both parents and children as well as how to create healthy ones
To achieve these goals, parents learn specific skills and strategies to use. These can include:
- The importance of attachment and how to nurture healthy, secure attachment
- Ways to promote positive play
- Age-appropriate activities and expectations
- Positive discipline techniques
- Healthy parenting styles and behavior
- Knowledge of parental roles and parental rights and responsibilities
- Tools for fostering resilience
- The ability to be nurturing without being indulgent
How to Find Parenting Education Programs
If you’ve decided that you’d like some parenting education before your baby is born (or at any time thereafter), there are ways to find them in your community.
Check with your medical providers, such as your OB-GYN, pediatrician, or family doctor. They often know of community parenting resources like parenting programs and parenting support groups and online forums. Community centers, schools, and colleges often provide parenting classes open to the public. Some religious organizations provide faith-based parenting programs. Finally, you can get parenting education online. While the programs are typically comprehensive and offer good information, they don’t provide valuable social interactions and connections.
Getting some parenting education before your baby is born can instill confidence, reduce anxiety, and equip you with strategies to be a fantastic parent for your newborn and beyond.
Peterson, T. (2019, June 28). Should I Get Some Parenting Education Before the Baby Comes?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-help/should-i-get-some-parenting-education-before-the-baby-comes